CrossBow and Neptune

All the stars seem to be lining up: Sun's T1000 and T2000 Chip Multi Threaded machines, the Neptune 10Gb NICs and CrossBow Network Virtualization and Resource Control: With CrossBow, Solaris will take full advantage of the the new virtualization functionality that Neptune 10 Gb NIC offers like hardware classification, multiple Receive/Transmit rings and DMA channels. This means the networking stack in Solaris is fully aligned with the networking hardware.


Crossbow features include:

\*- Ability to create Virtual NIC (VNIC) which is built on top of dedicated resources like Rx/Tx rings, DMA channels, kernel queues and threads and CPUs. On systems like Niagara and other hardware, this allows multiple Solaris Containers or Virtual machines to share the available B/W and host networking resources based on policies or resource partitioning without any performance impact due to virtualization.

- Parallelizing the networking workload across multiple Niagara threads and cores using Neptune classifier to spread traffic to multiple Receive and transmit rings while maintaining affinity between Rx/Tx rings, Niagara threads, kernel threads and queues.

- Ability to separate out services and protocols and providing dedicated resources (like Neptune Rx/Tx rings, DMA channels, kernel threads and queues, and Niagara threads and cores) and dedicated bandwidth (both limits and guarantees) over a common NIC without any performance penalties. Provides Quality of service to services that need it.


CrossBow on OpenSolaris:

Crossbow is one of the leading projects on OpenSolaris and has a large community around it. The source code and binaries are available today via the OpenSolaris (http://opensolaris.org/os/project/crossbow/). CrossBow will be available in Solaris by the end of this year.

Pretty cool stuff! And with the upcoming next generation of Niagara chips the NIC will even be included on the board itself. This will give us additional performance boost.
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